AJAX, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 6, 2012) -
Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.
The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has approved a settlement regarding the Region of Durham's Official Plan Amendment 128 (ROPA 128) that will protect prime agricultural land on the headwaters of the Carruthers Creek in northeast Pickering from extensive urbanization for the foreseeable future.
Since ROPA 128 was released in June of 2009, the Town of Ajax and environmental groups have vigorously advocated for modifications to the amendment to limit urban expansions and consumption of valuable agricultural land in Durham to ensure that growth happens in a controlled way while minimizing impacts.
The Town's primary concern was the development of 1,200 hectares of farmland in northeast Pickering on the headwaters of Carruthers Creek. This unnecessary urban expansion of approximately 30,000 people could have had devastating downstream impacts on Ajax, including increased flooding, erosion, and significant infrastructure, environmental and financial constraints.
To ensure permanent protection, the northeast Pickering lands should be considered to be included as part of the greenbelt.
"I would like to applaud the Region of Durham for protecting northeast Pickering. The protection of this environmentally sensitive area is a huge victory for proponents of complete, sustainable communities such as the Town of Ajax. Reinvesting and developing within municipalities should be the priority before paving greenfields outside of urban boundaries. We need to continue to work collectively to ensure we institute the best possible planning decisions to ensure the Region's and Town's future prosperity and quality of life."
Mayor Steve Parish, Town of Ajax
"The protection, health and well-being of residents is of utmost importance to Ajax Council. As a result of the Town's persistence and efforts, the northeast Pickering area will remain valuable agricultural land for the foreseeable future, and we have ensured the long-term integrity of a key flood-sensitive watershed - Carruthers Creek. We must continue to be diligent to ensure the area remains protected."
Colleen Jordan, Regional Councillor, Ward 3 & 4, Town of Ajax
"This is an important decision. Thanks to the leadership shown by the Town of Ajax, the bar is now set a lot higher for sustainable urban planning across Canada. Protecting prime farmland, nature and the watersheds that sustain people and the planet are the starting points for sound sustainable planning."
Dr. Rick Smith, Environmental Defence
"The decision to not develop the Carruthers Creek headwaters is a double victory. The prime farmland of northeast Pickering will continue to produce food and keeping this land unpaved will prevent floods carrying polluted runoff from damaging the environment."
Dan McDermott, Sierra Club Ontario
- The OMB approved ROPA 128, as modified by the Minutes of Settlement, on December 4, 2012.
- The Region's Official Plan is the foundation from which Durham's local municipalities use to plan and guide development. It is critical that the plan protect the public interest by managing growth and development, while at the same time preserving open space, agricultural lands, and natural features such as watersheds for future generations.
- The next Regional Official Plan review is expected to be initiated in 2018.
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